Managing MBI Project Risk

I’m often asked if there is any risk associated with a mortgage business intelligence undertaking. There are risks associated with just about everything in life, so a better question might be: what are the inherent risks? Can a mortgage business intelligence implementation fail? Of course it can, just like any other technology initiative.

Many MBI projects are essentially software development projects, and the risks for these are well known. Their schedules are almost always flawed, since development timelines are nearly impossible to predict. Requirements often get inflated as the project progresses, further complicating schedules and skewing resource allocation. Specifications can also be found to be incomplete during integration or testing, and productivity can suffer as these delays take the wind out of the sails of those charged with pushing the project forward.

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MBI projects that require all functions be built from the ground up are the ones that carry the most risk. These risks parallel those of any software development project, and underscore the need for turnkey MBI functionality. Prebuilt business intelligence functions are quite rare in the mortgage industry, where most BI providers are marketing the same toolsets they sell to all other industries. A better option is to find an MBI provider that can offer you an array of turnkey functionality specific to the mortgage industry. Ideally, your MBI provider will not only have prebuilt mortgage lending solutions that you can use “out of the box”, but will also have a depth of experience in the mortgage industry, as well as a long list of clients that are mortgage companies with whom you can interface to exchange ideas.

Beyond the technological risks, MBI has other risks related to implementation. Even when a platform is up and running, user adoption can become challenging. Most conversations around usership in the mortgage industry center on loan origination systems. Most industry professionals have lived through at least one LOS migration. It’s tough getting user communities to adopt the new LOS, so there always comes a point in the when the old system is turned off, and users have no choice but to fully embrace the new system.

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This type of wholesale retirement of an old system isn’t as easy to accomplish with MBI, where the old systems are spreadsheets that people will continue to have access to through their basic productivity software suites. It isn’t always easy to get mortgage professionals to relinquish their spreadsheets. This is the reason why project leaders must work with each and every user and not just show them the new MBI software, but show them where in the software they can get the same information and perform the same analysis more quickly, accurately, and in less time than they did with their spreadsheets.

To mitigate the risks associated with MBI user adoption, do not assume the platform is implemented after it’s installed. Once managers can connect the dots between their old spreadsheet based analytics and their new MBI system, they’ll be hooked.

About The Author

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Jon Maynell
Jon Maynell is a mortgage industry veteran, with over 25 years of experience designing, marketing, and writing about mortgage technology. He is currently Vice President of Client Services at Denver-based Motivity Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at 303-721-9000, or jon.maynell@motivitysolutions.com.